Health and Social Care Psychology P1

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The Behaviourist Approach A behaviourist psychologist believes that all behaviour is the result of either classical or operant conditioning: Operant conditioning involves learning what happens as a result of reinforcement or punishment. E.L Thorndike believed that the consequences of our actions help to decide whether we learned something or not. His experiment involved putting a cat in a box, with a lever to open it. The cat firstly opened the box by accident, but through a series of trial and error, the cat soon learnt that pushing the lever allowed it to escape and get food. Thorndike concluded in his law of effect that a particular stimulus will lead to a response if that response brings satisfaction, and if there is no satisfaction the response will stop. B.F Skinner used similar techniques and created the "Skinner Box" which allowed a rat to press a lever to release a pellet of food. The rat eventually learned through reinforcement that pressing the lever provided food. Reinforcement can be either positive or negative: positive reinforcement occurs when the consequences after a shown behaviour are desirable and negative is when the behaviour exhibited results in an unpleasant experience. Classical conditioning is the automatic response to a previously unrelated stimulus. Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist whom can be associated with classical conditioning. He found that when dogs were shown an empty food dish they produce saliva through a reflex action. The dogs salivated when given a dish of food; soon they began to associate the dish with food, and so salivated even when the dish was empty. The dogs have been classically conditioned. The food is the unconditional stimulus (UCS), meaning the dog is automatically stimulated by food, the response to the food is called the unconditional response (UCR). When food is present with the dish, the
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